Design and construction
The Botanic Museum was built in 1866 and later served variously as the mathematics, conservation, and physics building in the 20th century. At an initial cost of $5180, it was a two-story frame structure, 43 by 45 feet, and was one of the four buildings erected about the time of the opening of Massachusetts Agricultural College. On the first floor was a laboratory and recitation room. On the floor above was the Knowlton Herbarium, collected by W. W. Denslow of New York, of fifteen thousand species, at this time one of the finest collections in the country. A large collection of native woods, and fifty specimens of wood from the Himalaya Mountains, made by the celebrated travellers, the Von Schlagentwelt brothers, were also kept in this room. One of the most interesting objects kept in the room was a cast of a mammoth squash, grown in the plant house in 1873, which actually lifted, in the course of its growing, a weight equal to forty-five hundred pounds, and for some days after an accidental cracking of the shell supported five thousand pounds. The President's Office was in this building until it was moved with the opening of Old Chapel. Several other adminstrative offices were in here at the time, including the office of the college treasurer.
There was a neighboring stable built in 1885 of a similar design northeast of the Botanic Museum. It was for the use of the horticultural department of the College and cost $1500.
- For additional information, see the University Archives (RG 36/101)